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20110701
20110731
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.org/history. >> yesterday, a senate homeland security subcommittee on contract oversight looked at afghanistan reconstruction contracts. witnesses include contractors to receive money from the u.s. agency for international development and the army corps of engineers as well as defense department and usaid officials. missouri democratic senator clear ms. castle -- clare mccaskill chaired the two-hour hearing. if the witnesses have become -- i have a formal statement prepared but i have decided not to give a formal opening statement. and just express the reason for this hearing. this is not the first hearing we have had in the subcommittee on contract thing in our contingency operation. and i began working on this problem almost the day i wrought -- arrived in the senate. when i travel to iraq to do nothing but look at contracting oversight because i couldn't figure out how in the world things had gotten so out of control in terms of contacting in iraq. i went over to iraq and i realized why they had gotten out of control. contract and representatives were just a low man on the total bowl being
.s. policy in afghanistan and iraq. we want to begin the segment by talking with the defense policy reporter with bloomberg news. she joins us by phone. she has traveled with defense and that i ton patte iraq. talk about what you heard the defense secretary do while he was overseas. guest: it was interesting to watch secretary panetta and compare how he handled the trip and his interaction with troops and with foreign leaders to secretary gates. he has fairly big shoes to f ill, according to people who were quite complementary. leon panetta also has a lot of familiarity with u.s. military forces. forces. with the commanders and foreign leaders that he is meeting with and going to be interacting with. with his experience as cia director for more than two years before taking this job and in other capacities, for example, a member of iraq study group that did the independent assessment in 2006 of the war in iraq. host: was specifically was the defense secretary trying to accomplish on this trip? guest: he wanted to go out and touch base with the troops themselves and make that connection. it is
troops home from afghanistan. i do that because i have the privilege to represent the third district of north carolina, the home of camp lejeune marine base, cherry point and seymour johnson air force base. i have been privileged since i didn't serve to have great relationships with active duty and retired marines in the district, and i want to share with this house, mr. speaker, that we continue to support a corrupt leader and a corrupt government. just recently, the half brother of mr. karzai, half brother named wali karzai, was murdered in afghanistan. this only reinforces the fact that afghanistan is in a fragile situation at every level of their government. it is in chaos, quite frankly. just this week i spoke with a marine colonel who's been to afghanistan three times. he was in my office on tuesday, and he shared the same sentiments as the retired marine general who has been advising me for 20 months, and recently i emailed the general and said, please give me your ideas of what mr. obama has proposed in bringing 10,000 of our troops out in july and then another 23,000 in -- n
panetta went to iraq and afghanistan. he did not go to pakistan. i take that as a strong message. it is easy when you're in that region to attack on an extra couple of days for an important ally. i think that cross the minds of everyone who planned the trip. it was clearly a conscious decision not to go to pakistan. i think that is in part because when osama bin laden was killed on may 2 there was a list of things that we would ask the pakistan's to do, the pakistani to do, and i have not acted on any of them. this administration also put a hold on a $10 million in assistance. a great way to resolve that is sending the defense secretary to talk to folks about what is going on, but he did not. you are seeing already how differently the pentagon will treat allies in the region. "the in this morning's financial times" they had this headline -- guest: the withdrawal deadline is aggressive. they're talking about getting half of the troops out during the prime fighting season. they do not fight as much during the wintertime. we are starting to withdraw troops during a tumultuous situat
it comes to discussing the merits of continuing our efforts in afghanistan, the republicans clamor to defend it despite our fiscal mess. i want to remind my republican friends the situation we are in now is not new. throughout history from rome to the ottoman empire to the soviet union the over extension of military and protracted struggles in foreign countries has crippled empires. some historians have credited ronald reagan for the soviet union's collapse but what really bankrupted the soviet union was its wars, just like us, they paid a crushing price both financially and morally in afghanistan. overextending geopolitically comes at a cost over time in any nation that thinks otherwise is setting itself up to repeat the mistakes of the past. as of today, the united states has spent more than 2 1/2 times the percentage of g.d.p. on afghanistan that the -- than the soviet union spent on its g.d.p. during its nine-year war in afghanistan. public polls are clear, americans know the cost of the war in afghanistan is unsustainable and want us to withdraw as soon as possible. when it co
spending in iraq and -- of spending in iraq and afghanistan. how about that? we will spend more than $833 million in the next three days in kabul and baghdad. in part to help build clean water systems there. in part to help create jobs there. i just think that's inexcusable that we find ourselves in a position where we're spending in two or three days in iraq and afghanistan when we could spend to eliminate this cut and provide clean drinking water for the people of our country. the amount of subsidies we're going to give oil companies. the oil companies made record profits in 2010. they made about $60 billion in profits, if i'm not mistaken. $77 billion, actually, in profits last year. we'll spend six times as much of this cut in the clean drinking water fund to give money away to those oil companies this year. these are people who made $77 billion in profits last year, whose stocks are off the charts, who are paying their c.e.o.'s hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, and we're going to give them about $7 billion from the wallets of the people of this country this year. that'
of other members of congress, there were warlords from the northern alliance of afghanistan that wanted to meet with us because we were told that the administration didn't want to meet with them and after we met with them it was clear why the administration wouldn't want to. now, i was not aware and it was during the bush administration, of course, our initial actions in afghanistan, we sent in intelligence, we sent in special forces, we sent in weaponry, we equipped the northern alliance tribes who had a special personal interest in defeating the taliban. and afghanistan as a whole had seen how evil the taliban was. how much damage they could do to society as they burned paintings and books and films and totally suppressed freedom in afghanistan. they knew. these people were evil but they were afraid of them but with the united states weaponry, with our guidance and intelligence training these people defeated the taliban. what i was not aware of until we met with these folks and turns out i could have been aware, i just was not, but do you the research, you find out, the bush administr
a loved one in afghanistan. ethan and stephanie, bowing here at arlington cemetery, lost their father on may 12 of this year. the sergeant, who was stationed at camp lejeune marine base, and another was sent with the mission to train afghan citizens to become police. the men had just sat down to dinner when a rogue trainee opened fire killing both men. in an email to his wife the day before he died, the sergeant said, and i quote, i don't trust them. i don't trust them for anything, not anything at all. this brings me to a quote from a.c. snow's recent column tiled "time to bring them home: let them live." mr. snow is a well-known correspondent in north carolina. and i quote, it seems we never run out of wars. it is as if one small country after another sends out a grave's invitation reading, we're having a war, please come. and uncle sam borrows millions to offer freedom our nation building. mr. speaker, i go back to the two little girls in this picture. how many more children will be at the grave site of a loved one? how many more have to known the pain of war? i further quote from
a group of army soldiers who were returning home from the front lines in afghanistan with a bill for almost $3,000 or $200 a piece for each soldier to check four bags on a scheduled domestic flight. americans were right low outraged by the incident -- rightly outraged by the incident which was posted in a youles tube video. the fourth bag, for which he was charged $200, contained an import carbine rifle, a .9 millimeter pistol. a spokesman for the veterans of foreign wars told the associated press the fees were the worst welcome home any soldier could receive. the shock of even being charged is enough to make service men and women simply shake their heads and wonder who or what it is they are protecting, end quote. members of the armed forces who are serving our country on the front lines should not endure personal financial hardship when they are traveling to or returning from war zones. yet, the media's reporting of the incident last month showed that major u.s. carriers were applying the same or similar policies across the board. airlines were charging soldiers to check four r
billion on katrina. in afghanistan we spend $325 billion -- million a day and in iraq we've spent about $100 million a day. that's almost $1 billion a day. we're talking about $950 -- almost $1 billion in light rail. we can both be right and smart and compassionate if we do the right thing. in our budgeting process we should have an unexpected fund for unforeseen circumstances, we should have learned from katrina. we're looking at probably about $4 billion in term of army corps of engineers. i think our leaderships need to get together and just say that we can do this without fighting among each other, without making each other wrong. because that's wrong. in the eyes of the public, they want us to do the job that needs to get done and have our leadership do that. and so my plea is that we can be fiscally responsible and we can be compassionate and we do that with good planning and good budgeting process, including having contingency funds that should have been there. and so we have an opportunity right now to show the public that we can do all these things and still come out winners fo
their lives in the service of our nation in iraq and afghanistan and their families and of all who serve in our armed forces and their families. the chair: without objection, two-minute voting will continue. the unfinished business is the request for a railroaded -- vord -- recorded vote on amendment number 2 by the gentleman from illinois, mr. rush, on which further proceedings were postponed, on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in house report 112-181, offered by mr. rush of illinois. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. a sufficient number having risen, a recorded vote is ordered. this will be a two-minute vote, followed by a series of additional two-minute votes. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] the chair: on this vote, the ye
that they're bringing back, they are companies specifically going after returning iraq and afghanistan veterans to be able to hire them. it was interesting, we were talking about drilling and you go into a drilling platform and they say their favorite people to be able to hire are tank drivers returning from the war zone because they're used to driving equipment, looking on a screen and dealing with multiple things all at once. these are folks employing our veterans and they're engaged in providing great jobs. i was on a fracking site, being able to watch it. it's high tech job, people on computers, as well as people in pumping, trucks, people providing food, people providing the equipment, it's people with big wrenches and people with small computers. and you see this multitude of different jobs provided by oil and natural gas and by fossil fuels we're producing right here in america. we are at a moment that we can either say, we want all green jobs, we want to destroy the jobs producing fossil fuels, or we can say, let's do both. let's encourage the growth of green jobs but let's not
of every six department of defense dollars is going to afghanistan. we got the taliban out of power. karzai stood for free elections in 2004. al qaeda was dismantled and sent into western pakistan. this is not a nation-building exercise. this is a counter-terror exercise. we do not need 100,000 troops on the ground of the cost we're paying today in order to get the job done. [applause] thank you. i am here to tell you the future of the united states is not going to be determined in the prairies of afghanistan. the future of the united states is going to be determined by how well-prepared we are to compete in a highly competitive 21st century. that battle will be waged across the pacific ocean. we have some work to do. as you walk out of this building, i want you to remember why we're in this race. it is because it is about the generation and we're about to pass the country to and the condition in which they will find it. my priorities will be debt and spending. we have no choice. trajectory we're on is unsustainable. launching a new industrial revolution is within our grasp. it has happened
they're dodging bullets in places like afghanistan. we'd have confidence. but instead he says he can't guarantee. mr. speaker, we know he can. we know he can guarantee. we should push that on him out of this house to let him know where we stand, so the american people understand there is a moral standard here. one is, tell the truth. the second moral standard is, pay our military, the other moral standard is guarantee the full faith and credit of the united states government. i laid out the rest of these priorities, mr. speaker and cut, cap, and balance is an important position to stand on. the leverage that's here now must be used or we shirk our responsibility. had the leverage been stronger back in 1995, that extra vote in the senate that i spoke about some minutes ago would have been there, i believe and i believe the balanced budget amendment would have been sent to the states and i believe the states would have ratified it and if that had been part of the constitution the kay i came -- the day i came here in january of 2003 i wouldn't have had to walk around on the floor and fi
not be able to do things militarily to support our troops in afghanistan and iraq. i view this, i think it bears close watching, but there is a perception that somehow we're giving our china, india, brazil and other countries an advantage. i view this program as a two-way street. it does provide a degree of access to american companies and so i would be also reluctant -- i reluctantly oppose your amendment but i can assure you that both of us feel very strongly that it bears watching. it has borne some fruit. mr. frelinghuysen: it's not money wasted, it's not money given away to competitors. thank you for yielding. mr. visclosky: but again, i think it draws attention that we should be closely monitoring these funds. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from fey rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. broun: i'd like to yield to dr. harris from maryland. mr. harris: let me briefly address this so we can move on. we only cut $6 million out of the $8 million. there's budget language further on t
the war in afghanistan, we must fix the politics." host: back to the phones and the public's discussion, asheville, n.c., george -- joyce. caller: we do not have any say in what congress says it through our president except through voting. i call them all the time and make my voice heard. sometimes they are not nice to me. i think that the biggest problem in this country are the illegals that come in here to of our country and a protest. the taxes of this country are taking care of them. they will hit the streets in georgia this time. arizona and other states. host: you said you had had contact? caller: just about my complaints with social security and medicare. host: their response to you? caller: they just listen to me sometimes. sometimes they say thank you for calling. host: you have spoke to them on the phone? caller: i was complaining more about illegals, i think that is the biggest problem of the nation. host: i am going t let you go now. we have this biggest -- we have this twitter message. host: auburn they'll, florida, you are on washington journal. caller: they never listen t
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